Let's start from basics, the term "Angakok" (or "Angakkuq") defines shamans in the Inuit culture of North America, not much to do with Liege, Belgium, where the band was founded. Nevertheless, the name and imagery chosen by Angakok immediately help us understand the philosophical approach of the trio. "Angakok" is their first official album (after an EP released in 2012), published by the ever-present Satanath Records in five hundred copies.
The black and white cover artwork acts as a portal to another dimension, where we adventure in order to meditate on human condition and the world, on a claustrophobic and really diverse doom metal carpet. The general dirt of this work, especially when it comes to vocals, brings sludge back to our minds, while Ben screams his "prophecies" and the band doesn't lack faster-paced and aggressive passages (as in "Samsara"). There are quite a few vocal samples used here and there ("Collapsing") and everything contributes to creating a sense of impending doom, of utter apocalypse. I found the decision to use titles in both English and Inuit languages quite curious (although it might give away the impression of an uncertain conceptual continuity), apart from "Samsara" that defines the idea of the circle of life and death according to many Indian religions, which is also arguably the most effective song of the record.
The album is a (dis)pleasure to be enjoyed, there are great balance between all tracks and a clever management of its running time. The ritual-flavoured drone intermission ("Avioyok") fits in perfectly with the general context, highlighting something that can be found throughout this work on the background as well. The quantity and quality of the noise you will face in songs like "Empty Cup" will simply put you at (un)ease; you will struggle to break free of the mud of existence with all your strength, before getting back to an (at least apparent) state of peace, meditating on your surroundings with "Sivudlit Nertorpok".
I have rarely seen such confidence in a debut album, and I am pretty sure that Angakok still have a lot to say. If, thinking about Belgium and violence you rightly picture AmenRa, this young trio from Liege might be a interesting addition to your collection.